Sunday, July 05, 2009

An Observation

I was recently listening to Bob Lonsberry, our local conservative morning show radio host. He was explaining that there was money coming in from the Fed for one of our military bases here in Utah. Since Bob is typically against government spending, I was waiting for him to rail against it. However, he proceeded to talk about what a good thing this was: good for the local economy, good for families, good for the military.

If this money had been coming to a local school district, I suspect we would have heard about government waste and over-paid teachers for the next 20 minutes. In conservatism, the military gets a pass while education can never get too little.

This even translates into churches... which are primarily conservative. As we go though our 4th of July weekend, many church services will focus on honoring the military. Not that I mind honoring men and women who have served, but I do take issue with how often churches tend to weave militarism into Christianity. Somehow, they seem to make them go hand in hand.

Also, like morning show Bob, churches tend to be critical and suspicious of education. Days that promote education and schools tend to slip past church notice. Again, mention the military in a church and you will see members lift their chin up and puff out their chest; mention education and you will probablly get furrowed brows and a scowl.

Interesting dichotomy.


Chad said...

How well you point out these obvious things in society. This blog is why I like and can't wait for your blogs.

petite-bunni said...

I would have to say that not ALL churches are like that. And you must take into consideration that what is being taught in public schools these days is anything but Biblical, so it's no wonder they would prefer not to talk about it. Look at their biased science/biology courses on evolution, and their extremely poor sex education courses that EVERYONE is required to take? I'm not a big fan of gov. spending, nor do I believe the public schools/teachers get paid half as much as they should, but hey, you gotta also look at both sides of the picture as to why ppl may frown upon what they do.

Andrew said...

Good to hear from you again Petite - no, not all churches... I try to be careful to use words like many or seems often, because I know there are always going to be those who don't fall into any given category.

As someone who has taught in public schools for 18 years, I have always found the Christian reaction to those two issues to be WAY over the top. It just never plays out in real life 1/100th as nefarious as a Focus on the Family type group would portray.

Worse case scenario, if you don't believe in evolution, why not be aware of what most of the rest of the world thinks? There are lots of perspectives that I can listen to, yet not buy in to, and not have a complete breakdown over it.

As to sex education, the reality is that varies from community to community and ultimately, nothing is happening that the community holds objection to. I have sat through countless "sex ed" talks, and they have all been pretty dang tame. If parents aren't telling their kids this stuff anyway, they are just pickin irresponsible. As an example, I had a student who's parents wanted her opted out of the sex ed class (which is always an option). That was fine, but a few weeks later she started her period while at school and had a complete emotional breakdown. She did not have the first clue what was happening! I am fine if parents want to opt their kid out for religious reasons... but the parent needs to pick up the ball at that point.

In any case, those two items are a VERY small fraction of instruction that goes on at schools. I think there is a larger issue here, in that ANY instruction is going on without church input... that lack of control for religious institutions is disturbing.

petite-bunni said...

I agree with what you have said. I've gone through evolution and I've gotten the whole jist of what they want everyone to know. What just bothers me personally is all the other evo's out there who have no idea about religion either.

And I also completely agree with you about sex ed as well. I think the parents should really own up to their children's sex ed because it can be "tame" but not at all accurate or educational. (If you want to call looking at diseased genitals educational.)

It's just that a lot of those church going people don't realize that a good sex education for their children will be a lot better for them than worse--the only thing they must also stress is why God has given us the gift of sex, to share with one's spouse. I don't know. I just feel that sometimes, it's both parties' fault.

WES ELLIS said...

Really interesting thoughts. I've never quite thought of it like that. Maybe that's part of why I get so annoyed at church on July 4th weekend and Memorial Day. We don't honor many other national holidays other than those honoring the military.

curmudgeon said...

Andrew I love the way you open the discussion on these topics. As a practicing curmudgeon I would have to disagree with petite-bunni’s comments about education as well and I enjoy the fact you point out the reactions to religious generated controversy to topics of evolution and sex education are way over the top.
I personally believe the strong bias against educational spending is directly related to an inability to control the message. If they were able to propagate a Christian message in public schools they would be willing to write bigger checks. This is also the basis for restricting sex education funding and offering a very narrow curriculum in schools on the public health issues around sex.
I also think, conversely, if we said we were sending our military to faraway lands to wield the sword for truth, justice, and the right of all to practice atheism they would question if that was the best use of our tax dollars.

Andrew said...

"I've never quite thought of it like that." That is what I love about reading blogs and how prolific information is nowadays. For those who will take it, the opportunity to hear varied views is vast.

"I personally believe the strong bias against educational spending is directly related to an inability to control the message."

Kevin that is so true. I sat on a committee that was structuring the health curriculum for my previous district. What I noticed about the Christian voices in the community is that they were not content to have a voice at the table; they wanted to be THE voice at the table. Anything less was not worth joining in.

Many Christians have a near phobic reaction to any situation where they do not dominate. I think this comes from scripture that speaks of "a little leaven works through the whole batch of dough". They fear being tainted. However, there is plenty of scripture that states the exact opposite - "If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy". The Christian tendency to go with fear instead of hope is (I think) what is sidelining my faith into irrelevancy.

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